nzoa may 2019

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Reviewed by Seamus Maguire

Mantle: Quiet Music EP

Reviewed by Seamus Maguire

Mantle: Quiet Music EP

‘Quiet Music’ by George Johnston‘s project Mantle carries on from their earlier release ‘A Continuous Return’.

Coming in at just under 20 minutes, each track is a rhythmless held chord seemingly suspended and frozen in time – with little change other than very minor and soft timbral shifts.

The length of each piece feels too short – this style of ambient music works at lengths upwards of 10 minutes.

Opening track Whakawhanaungatanga beckons the listener to sit in stillness so it is unfortunate that it is cut so short.

Similarly, the way each piece begins and ends so starkly is a particular creative choice as the atmosphere and gentleness of each track would seem to invite an unintrusive gentle volume swell in and out.

The music is not quiet in itself – each track feels rich and full.

Indeed the tracks are noisy, as if recorded onto cassette and have the textures of woodwind and choirs with soft shimmering choruses drenched in reverb.

I take the term ‘quiet’ to mean that it has very little movement and dynamics rather than ‘not loud’.

The sonic stillness of each track allows the listener to delve into the subtleties of the music while also providing a gentle and calming easy-listening platform, as is often the case for this style of ambient music.